I am asked frequently to what temperature meat is to be cook to for optimum safety and the removal of harmful bacteria. I, too, often wonder and second guess myself on this topic. I certainly hate over-cooking meat but I want to serve safe food to my family. First and foremost, invest in a simple instant read meat thermometer, it’s an essential kitchen tool. Secondly, rest time matters. When meat rests, it can actually increase in temperature up to 30 degrees!!! I found this shocking, It has however, explained why my beef often fails to be medium rare and comes out medium to even medium well…not good. I’ve researched and come up with a good, easy to read and complete guide that I’ve included here. It is from www.foodsafety.gov. I hope this helps you, as it helped me.
Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature. Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it. Any cooked, uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.
Why the Rest Time is Important
After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or other heat source, allow it to rest for the specified amount of time. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.
|Category||Food||Temperature (°F)||Rest Time|
|Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures||Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb||160||None|
|Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb||Steaks, roasts, chops||145||3 minutes|
|Poultry||Chicken & Turkey, whole||165||None|
|Poultry breasts, roasts||165||None|
|Poultry thighs, legs, wings||165||None|
|Duck & Goose||165||None|
|Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)||165||None|
|Pork and Ham||Fresh pork||145||3 minutes|
|Fresh ham (raw)||145||3 minutes|
|Precooked ham (to reheat)||140||None|
|Eggs & Egg Dishes||Eggs||Cook until yolk and white are firm||None|
|Leftovers & Casseroles||Leftovers||165||None|
|Seafood||Fin Fish||145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.||None|
|Shrimp, lobster, and crabs||Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque.||None|
|Clams, oysters, and mussels||Cook until shells open during cooking.||None|
|Scallops||Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm.||None|